Traveling alone, or traveling solo, is not as scary as many traveler think. When planned and done properly, traveling solo can bring as much fun as traveling in small group, and definitely more fun than travelling with large tourist group.
Have you ever planned to eat Vietnamese Pho on the street side of Hanoi, only to give in to your travel group who prefer some western restaurant? Or dying to watch a musical performance at the romantic West Lake at Hang Zhou, China, only to arrive late because one of the person in the group overslept in what suppose to be a short nap time?
Traveling solo release you from the necessity to tolerate your travel partner. Even though when you depart, all of you might share the same interest towards the trip, each of you might develop different interest at the destination. Traveling solo give you the freedom to pursue your own travel interest at your own pace.
And traveling solo is far from alone. In my recent trip to Bali, I stopped at Seniman Coffee Ubud to escape the heat of Bali’s sun. I was having a good conversation with the Barista about coffee. We discussed about the rare light roast beans against more common medium and dark roast, about different taste of coffee from around Indonesia, and different brewing method.
In some other trip to Singapore, I stayed at backpacker dorm, where we shared a big room with 20 other traveler. I have a good chat with them at the common area of the hostel. Almost all of them came from different country, stayed in Singapore as stepping stone to the other part of the region. Others do plan to stay longer, and literally plan to run around the country.
On the other hand, traveling solo also give you space when you feel like not talking to anyone. You can sit alone, write, blog, or simply think about life in general, without someone interrupting because they feel obliged to talk to you. I mostly need my space in the morning, before dawn, during my breakfast. This is the time when I usually sort my thought for the day
I find that, the biggest challenge of traveling solo is when you need to go to the restroom in public space, with your big backpack. The restroom can be very small for you and your backpack, and dirty to put your bag on the floor. This are the time when I wish for a travel companion. To resolve this, I would usually look for a restaurant that is kind enough to watch my stuff. Of course, I would order some food from them later on.
Security is another concern. If something happens to you, noone will be able to help or tell your relatives of your whereabouts. Fortunately, as the world become more connected, it is more a problem in the past. Just make sure that you tell someone of your travel plan, and keep them posted of your whereabouts.
So, next time you feel like having a holiday, yet noone that is willing to go, book your ticket anyway, and have fun.
*Title image by Giuseppe Milo